SAINT LEO, Fla.- The No. 20 Saint Leo University men's basketball team (3-2) fell to Armstrong Atlantic State (4-1) by a score of 72-60 on Friday night in the opening game of the Ames Classic. The Pirates' win tied the all-time series between the two schools at 3-3. In the loss, Marcus Ruh entered the 1000-point scoring club for his career.
"We had a chance to take the lead there multiple times there in that run," Head Coach Lance Randall said postgame. "I thought they outplayed us. We struggled, and played behind a good portion of the night."
Armstrong's Aric Miller led the game with a stellar 35-point performance. The senior transfer from Bethune-Cookman shot 12-18 from the field and 5-9 from beyond the arc to lead the Pirates to their fourth win of the year. Armstrong shot 45.3 percent for the game and went 17-21 from the charity stripe.
Five Lions scored in double-figures in Saint Leo's second loss of the season. Ruh and Trent Thomas each dropped in 13 points. Shaun Adams notched 12 points and added eight rebounds. Chim Kadima contributed 10 points and nine rebounds in just 22 minutes of action. Jerrel Harris totaled 11 points on the night, after dropping in two three-pointers in the final minutes.
Three first half three-pointers from Trent Thomas kept Saint Leo in the game and down just four at the half, after Armstrong Atlantic shot 50 percent from the field. The Pirates were led by Aric Miller, who led the first half in scoring with 19 points.
In the second half the Lions found themselves down 44-33 with 15:45 to play, but quickly began chipping away at the Pirates' lead. Over the next minute, the eleven point deficit was cut to four after an Adams three and a steal and assist from Thomas. Less than one minute later, Ruh hit his third three of the game to cut the Lions' deficit to three.
With 11:41 remaining, Kadima sank a jumper to move the Lions within one point of Armstrong, but that would be the closest the Lions got during the rest of the contest. Down 12 points with just over five minutes remaining, the Lions began what would be their final run of the game.
Ruh dropped in a pair of free throws to notch his 1000th point of his career with 1:42 remaining and Harris followed it up with a trey to get within five of the Pirates. Armstrong went 11-12 from the free throw line in the final minute of the game to put away the Lions.
The Saint Leo men's basketball team gets right back into action tomorrow against Fort Valley State. Tip-off is set for 4:30 p.m.